Mind Spaces

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Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan, 2018. Video exhibition on the daily/mundane tasks that the artist and her parents do.

We were looking through my parents’ wedding photos last Sunday. My parents were recounting the past: of how they first met, dated, got married and had us.

With great fondness, my siblings and I recalled our childhood at our grandparents’ house. It was mostly fond because of the mama shop that had our favourite candy, snacks and ice cream, as well as the variety shows and cartoons that we could watch there. I also recalled a memory of my cousin saying that when he grows up and got married, he could go on movie dates with his wife and leave his children at our grandparents’ house; presumably just as his parents had done.

Although my grandma and grandpa have been gone for 10 and 2 years respectively, I still can see their house when I close my eyes. Even though a 3 room flat, it felt large to a child-sized me. I can feel the cool marble table in the dining area, smell the hair cream that my grandfather used around the sink and hear the rhythmic clacking of the foot pedal sewing machine in the balcony. And although it seems so real to me, that house does not exist in reality any more, only as a figment of my imagination.

Just as I start to mourn the loss, I remember that this reality in front of me too, shall pass. I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 5:1 –

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

And so we have hope, because whatever that seems so real right now: our carefully crafted appearances (real and online), careers, wealth, social status, health, youth, will fade away. And these things are being compared to a tent, as compared to the eternal house that we will receive in heaven.

For Matthew 6: 19 – 21 says:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

So I will not mourn, but instead look forward to heaven where I can be reunited with God and my grandparents in an eternal dwelling. Amen.

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Influence

IMG_4112Photo at Times Square, Aug 2017

A scandal recently hit a high profile photographer & “influencer”, which brought to mind the question: what does it mean to be an “influencer”?

I thought of young, generally good looking millennials posting Instagram photos or stories of how much they’re enjoying life, usually by consuming a product or experience. One that you can have NOW too, by clicking on the link and forking out a bit of cash.

I have fell for these thinly veiled advertisements, and tried some of these products. Some of which were complete wastes of money, but others I like and still use to this day.

Those were transactions based on trust and reliability: this particular person seems like me, if it worked for that person, it might work for me too. Or, aspiration: I could be like that person if I used this product. Or maybe sheer curiosity: hmm, that seems interesting, maybe I should try it.

I’m trying to mentally dissect the reason why there is a bottle of sugared mineral water sitting on my table as I type. I was at the supermarket and the lady in front of me had 4 bottles of this on the check out counter. I tried to talk myself out of getting it, but in the end, curiosity won and I scoured the supermarket aisles for this relatively expensive bottle of water. With 47 unncessary kcals, no less. (On a side note, it tastes like one of those soda pops I used to drink as a child, so I guess this purchase is justified.)

But back to the point. I didn’t know the woman in front of me and neither did she tell me to buy the drink. I don’t think she knew of her influence on me. However, some how the packaging or the brand or the strawberry flavour made me want to buy it.

We are influencers in our own right: what we say or unconsciously do influences those around us. How then, can we make our lives attractive to others to want to know Jesus? Are we living lives that are a fragrant offering? The gospel needs no attractive packaging or flavouring. Jesus is the good news: that He came to die for sinners like us, so that we can be reconciled to God. And we are called to be His children and chosen people. Colossians 3:12 – “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

We will surely fail if we try to have compassion, be kind, humble, gentle and patient by ourselves. But God who is holy, will make us holy in His time. And here’s the amazing part – it is because he so dearly loves us that we are to do these things.

So let’s go. Use our God-given influence for His glory, because whether you realize it or not, people are watching. Send the message that Jesus is Lord, rather than I am lord of my life, in our daily words, actions and decisions.

 

Fast Forward

The first and last post I made on this blog was nine years ago.

This is the third blog or so that I have started. The others are lost some where on the Internet, buried in the archives of Tumblr/Blogger/Wordpress. Hopefully they will never be unearthed.

Blogs were once the “it” and cool thing to have and to write on. Perfect for venting, sharing secrets and dealing with teenage angst. Now, hardly anyone reads. We post pictures and write captions in lieu of words. You express your mood via emoticons or gifs rather than adjectives.

But I digress.

I still enjoy being incoherent and not having a proper ending to posts.

Life (and relationships) do not end neatly.

Neither does this post.